​​Vaccination levels in South America catching up with the U.S.

​​Vaccination levels in South America catching up with the U.S.
​​Vaccine station at the Monumental Stadium, in Nuñez, Buenos Aires. Photo: Instrumenta/Shutterstock

The U.S. might have been among the first movers, but the rest of the continent is rapidly catching up. Not only have Chile and Uruguay long surpassed the extent of the vaccination campaign in the world’s largest economy, but now crisis-ridden Argentina is tied with the U.S. in terms of the share of its citizens that have received at least one jab, while Bolsonaro-ruled Brazil is not far behind either.

The latest Our World in Data stats show the U.S. at 58.3 percent vaccine reach, with Argentina at 57.7 and Brazil rising at 52.5 percent, despite recent hiccups in rollouts. South America as a whole still lags at 46 percent, with Chile and Uruguay the outliers, having covered three-fourths of their population.

Two months ago, on June 8, the U.S. was already above the 50 percent threshold but appears to be hitting its ceiling, as an estimated 93 million people are choosing not to get immunized. Meanwhile, Argentina and Brazil were both at 25 percent or lower two months ago, a sign of the rapid pace of improvement seen over the last few weeks. 

Specific Western nations such as Israel, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Norway or Belgium are also hovering around 70 percent, like Chile and Uruguay, with most of their adult population vaccinated. But when we look at broader categories of countries, such as Europeans or High Income countries, they are not doing much better than Argentina and Brazil, with 56 and 50 percent of citizens reached, respectively.